By Abhinav Ramnarayan and Thyagaraju Adinarayan
LONDON (Reuters) -Wise shares opened at 800 pence on its stock market debut on Wednesday, giving the financial technology company a market capitalisation of 7.95 billion pounds ($11 billion), well above market expectations from earlier this year.
In April, sources had told Reuters the cross-border payments company was targeting a valuation of around $6-$7 billion, and recent press reports also quoted similar valuation levels.
This strong result crowns a record-breaking year for London listings and could pave the way for several other fast-growing British firms in the financial technology sphere, a dozen investors, entrepreneurs and experts told Reuters.
“(We) could see the valuation touch 9 billion pounds through the course of the day,” said John Woolfitt, director at Atlantic Capital in London. “We are bullish on the firm and the longer-term prospects beyond today.”
The opening price on the first ever direct listing in London was in line with an auction process in the preceding hours, which saw indicated price range between 750-820 pence. As of 0936 GMT, nearly 37 million shares had traded in the pre-open auction.
The cross-border payments company, one of Britain’s most well-known fintech unicorns, last month launched a direct listing on the London Stock Exchange, which allows for a listing without a public offering of shares.
“Wise has a distinct advantage over peers like Western Union and Moneygram because origination is 100% digital and they dont have to maintain a network of physical locations to disburse cash,” said Dan Thomas, an analyst at Third Bridge.
Wise does not actually wire money in the same way as peers, rather it holds balances in countries on popular currency routes to sidestep high fees, he said.
Several tech companies including Deliveroo, Trustpilot and Moonpig have already listed in London this year and helped push initial public offerings (IPO) to a record high.
“It’s definitely helpful to have well-known brands with strong success stories on domestic markets. They are few and far between so far, but the more that come to market the better,” said Daniel Turgel, a partner in the M&A and corporate practice at White & Case.
($1 = 0.7242 pounds)
(Reporting by Abhinav Ramnarayan; Editing by David Clarke, Jason Neely and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)